A SEASON of classic treats is coming up at Salisbury Playhouse, with two great scripts to be performed in the round.
The theatre is being reconfigured for Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce as well as for Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables, directed by the theatre’s own artistic director Gareth Machin.
The audience will be seated all around the stage, the better to appreciate the comings and goings in four bedrooms in the Ayckbourn play in September, and the intimate conversations played out in Separate Tables in October.
Machin wants to give his audiences popular classics while changing some of the classic settings people might expect to see.
He said: “We’ve had quite a bold and innovative season but we do want to bring our audiences classic drama.
“The twist will be in performing them in the round, which will keep them, and me, fresh – there’ll be nowhere to hide!”
Machin gathered supporters of the theatre together on Saturday for the launch of the new autumn/winter season, which will also feature a number of special guests such as Just a Minute favourite Nicholas Parsons, who will be telling anecdotes and showbiz stories and Lord Ashdown, who will be talking about the D-Day story of the Resistance.
There will also be several events to mark the Playhouse’s 40th anniversary and raise funds for the house development, such as a vintage tea party in August and two cheese, wine and port nights in November to help people stock their cupboards for Christmas.
And there will be a medical-themed evening of entertainment with Is There a Doctor in the House? in January.
Also in January will be the chance to listen to Mozart by candlelight, and Machin promised a disappointed member of the audience who complained there had been just one solitary flame at the last concert, that there would be more next time, to laughter from the auditorium.
In November Nottingham Playhouse brings The Kite Runner, based on the critically acclaimed and best-selling novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini.
And South Bank Award winner Dracula will form something of a departure for the theatre, as the stage has not seen a dance company in recent years.
Friends and supporters congratulated the Playhouse on a fantastic season this year, with particular praise for Romeo and Juliet Unzipped and On Golden Pond.
Audiences have also been impressed with the sets being designed at the theatre, with the current show, Betty Blue Eyes, taking place to the background of a design by Sara Perks.
Machin said: “It is a different sort of audience here than in London – there you have a different audience depending what you are putting on, but here we have a loyal following and we rely on people coming back.
“For example, the city only has 45,000 residents and 20,000 people came to see the pantomime last year.
“We have to get it right, or they won’t come back.”
Another popular announcement was that this year’s pantomime will be put together by the same team as the last two years, with Kieran Buckeridge returning in the title role of Mother Goose.
The season, starting in August, also features lots productions in the Playhouse’s Salberg Theatre, with Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier and several plays about the two world wars, as well as comedy and new drama scheduled.
To find out more, go to salisburyplay house.com or contact the box office on 01722 320333.